college lecturer in classrom 2

Welcome to Smart…but Clueless about Money!

Are you someone at the top of your game professionally, but you lack time or interest in the details of money management? Do you feel like that there is more that you could be doing with your money? Are you suffering from information overload from the media? This blog is designed to help you focus […]

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Social Security, FICA, OASDI

A Lesson From Goldilocks on Withholding from Your Paycheck – Not Too Much, Not Too Little, Just the Right Amount

Are you confused by how much to withhold from your paycheck for income taxes?  You want a reasonably accurate estimate so that you reduce the possibility for tax penalties and maximize your take-home pay.  What follows are the basics with some tips to help you check and adjust your withholding if necessary. What is Withholding? […]

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couple with laptops

Top Website – Calculators to Help You With Financial Choices

Making financial decisions can be complicated.  Don’t you wish there was a way to simplify the process?  The website has a number of calculators that will take the guesswork out of those decisions.  Of course, most choices aren’t purely based on money.  It’s up to you to weigh the numbers in the context of your […]

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yacht owner

How to Manage Your Taxes Like the Rich – Your 401(k) Plan as a Tax Shelter

You don’t have to resort to an offshore bank account to reduce your tax liability.  Did you know that your work retirement plan is one of the simplest and most common tax shelters for your money?  In addition, you may be able to contribute funds to a retirement fund set up outside of work.  This […]

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Dream house

Home Sweet Home – Should You Buy or Rent?

You have saved enough money for a down payment for a house and know that you can afford to buy.  Is this the best use of your money?  In addition to looking at the hard numbers, you need to examine your feelings about home ownership.  There are plenty of online “rent vs buy” calculators.  What […]

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Your Company is Going Public – How Does This Affect Your Long-Term Incentive Plan?

You started working at a high-tech or biotech company when it was privately held and you were granted employee stock options.  Now that your company is going public, it is likely that future grants will be mainly  in the form of restricted stock or restricted stock units (RSU’s).  Why is there a change in equity […]

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Start early with retirement plan contributions

Contributing to Your Work Retirement Plan: Time is on Your Side

How much should you contribute to your 401(k) plan? Are you overwhelmed by the investment selections for your retirement plan? These questions can be crippling.  To quote the French philosopher Voltaire “The perfect is the enemy of the good” (“Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”).  The sooner you start contributing, the more time your money will […]

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Capital Gains Tax

Selling Your Home? Don’t Forget Capital Gains Tax!

You are getting ready to list your house for sale.  Vase of flowers on the kitchen counter, fresh paint, stacks of magazines and mail out of sight.  You are doing a great job maximizing the appeal and potential sale price of your home.  The other strategy to earn the most from your home sale is […]

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career transition

Growing into your Next Career – How to Get Started as an Entrepreneur

You are thinking about a change in career.  Maybe it’s because you work in a fast-paced field, like high-tech, and are concerned about your long-term employment prospects.  Or you’re burnt out and would like to explore other options.  It can be a daunting prospect making a change, especially in the San Francisco Bay area with […]

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Diversification for the Disinterested Investor – the ABC’s of Mutual Funds

What if you had to build a portfolio from individual stocks for your 401(k) plan or other investment accounts?  Would you have the time and interest to research the financials and outlook for specific companies?  That’s what investing used to be like before mutual funds came along.  What follows is a primer on the evolving […]

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Your Company Stock – The Importance of Diversification

You have probably heard about the importance of diversifying your investment portfolio – i.e. not putting all your eggs in one basket.  What follows is a brief narrative of Elan Pharmaceuticals, where I formerly worked as a research scientist. I learned a valuable lesson about diversification, and hope you can benefit from this example.  Imagine watching […]

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